Here is the final chapter. I decided to make it one long-assed chapter instead of breaking it up into two. Too much coffee again!
Applause and fuzzy kittens to those of you who guessed what Steve had in the truck. To those who wondered if there will be more Cujo stories, the answer is yes but it will be awhile, (the poor cat is pooped - he needs his beauty sleep.) The next Five-0 entry will have nary a critter in it. It will be dark, angsty and clearly labeled as such but I hope you'll read it anyway.
Thank you all for sticking with the furry piranha and his pets and for your kind comments. I do listen to you guys and tried to incorporate some of your ideas into the story. I'm so lucky to have such wonderfully creative readers. Thank you to francis2 for the idea for the final scene.
Disclaimer: Didn't make any money from this and don't own anything but OC's, plots, and the mistakes. Just glad we all lived through it.
*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0* Hawaii 5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*
Bombs Bursting in Air?
A call from Danny had scrambled the harbor patrol to intercept Grayson's henchman. Whether it would be in time to stop the resumed scheme was the big question.
In the middle of a rousing rendition of Anchors Away, hotel security had notified everyone in the ballroom to clear the area. The orchestra came to a ragged halt and the music was replaced by a panicked rumble as everyone rushed toward the exits.
Chin had dragged the battered, half-conscious Grayson to the pier where Danny, with the help of a few bystanders had pulled him from the water.
Splashing around in the ocean wasn't the blonde Jersey detective's idea of a good time – especially in the dark. One wouldn't even be able to see whatever creatures waited beneath the surface to pull you under and eat you.
He'd been glad there were plenty of willing swimmers to rescue McGarrett's sorry ass, (not that he wouldn't and not that he hasn't in the past), but the man was like a freakin' bullet train when he locked onto something. If he and his mini-ninja wanted to go for a midnight swim . . . well, more power to them. Besides, he'd never get back his deposit if he handed back the rented tux after taking a dip while wearing it.
Danny realized Chin didn't seem to have a problem swimming in formal attire. Perhaps it hadn't yet occurred to him that he's going to lose money on the deal? Maybe the state will reimburse him? After all, the monkey-suit did bite the big one in the service of the citizens of Hawaii. Denning would approve it . . . right?
As he stood watching the Hawaiian finish signing off on the transfer of Grayson from Five-0's custody to HPD's, Angie, (resembling a drowned rat or a landlocked mermaid, depending on one's perspective), sped by on a mission, a still dry Lori in tow. The Jersey girl and the profiler passed him in a flat-out run, disappearing behind the foliage that lined the walkway leading to both the ballroom and the parking area beyond.
What the fuck now! thought Danny. He had to assume McGarrett had sent them to stop Grayson's henchman.
They'd been running in the direction of where Steve usually parked when they'd come to the Hilton for drinks in the bar. He knew his crazy partner kept 'things' in the Silverado he wouldn't dare store in the Camaro, (well, he would if Danny would let him). He hoped it wasn't what he suspected it might be. McGarrett isn't that crazy . . . is he?
Steve still wasn't back on land yet. Torn between making sure his partner was safe and following Angie and Lori, he saw HPD tuck Grayson away into the back of a squad car. The man looked as though he'd been tumbled in a cement mixer filled with barbed wire. Danny hoped the bastard came down with cat-scratch fever or something equally as nasty sounding. He'd have to congratulate Cujo on having done such a thorough job of mauling the flaming asshole.
With a frustrated swipe through his hair, he decided to go search for the women. He'd just taken a step toward the parking lot when he heard the frantic calls from the water behind him.
The slim boat's powerful motor now roaring loudly; Ricardo steered it quickly toward the barge. There was no longer any need for stealth.
He knew the rockets had automatically reset to a vertical position when the power had been shut down. Clever Americanos and their safety precautions, thought the henchman. Well, his orders were clear. His jefe had spoken. Whether the man survived the evil gato and his owner or not, this would certainly be tribute to the man's genius.
He quickly boarded the barge and secured the power boat to it. There would most certainly be opportunity to escape in the chaos and confusion of the attack. He wasn't worried over that detail. He just had to make this fast before that overdressed posse found him.
He powered-up the computer console, waiting for it to reboot so he could punch in the coordinates to re-align the trajectory to, once again, point shoreward.
This is going to be spectacular, happily thought the henchman as he hummed along to the 'Marine's Hymn'.
They had to get to whatever McGarrett had in the truck. Angie surmised it was a long-range gun of some kind that could be used to take out the guy in the boat.
Reaching the parking lot in less than a minute, they could see the closed-up T-shirt shop on the far side of it. Neither woman noticed the gravel and small rocks that cut into the bottoms of their bare feet as they raced over the asphalt.
In the glow of the parking lot's high-pressure sodium lights, colors were distorted. There were no reds or blues, just shades of muddy yellow. Luckily, color wasn't an issue as the big truck loomed over its neighboring vehicles. While still a few feet from it; to make sure it was the right one, Angie pressed a button on the electronic key in her hand and was rewarded with a chirp and blinking of marker lamps. She vaulted into the back and searching through the small assortment on the key ring, quickly found the one for the huge steel lock box.
With Lori looking over her shoulder, she lifted the heavy lid and pulled out the luggage to toss it aside. Beneath it lay miscellaneous things like camping equipment, tools and sporting goods. They were all stowed with incredible neatness - bless McGarrett's little OCD heart. Practically tossing them over her shoulder, along with coils of rope and what she recognized as climbing equipment; she came to a large wooden box about the size and shape of a small narrow coffin.
She heard Lori exclaim, "That's it!" as she was shouldered aside by the slender woman who deftly used a discarded hammer to pry off the hasp. There before them lay a shoulder mount grenade launcher . . . Whoa, a fucking RPG! realized a thrilled Angela.
The Five-0 profiler leaned in to pluck the disassembled weapon from the box and began to slap the components together as though she'd done it a hundred times before.
There's more to Lori than first impressions would indicate, thought Angela admiringly.
"Let's go!" yelled Lori, handing the rocket grenades to the detective.
Leaping down from the truck and landing with a grunt, she shouldered the over twenty-pound weapon and doubled-timed back to the terrace ballroom; the Jersey girl in her wake like a bridesmaid who carried munitions instead of flowers.
Ricardo heard the first rocket click into place. He smiled knowingly saying to no one in particular, "Bueno" as he stood with finger poised over the launch button.
Rushing to the edge of the planking and looking outward into the near darkness, he saw his half-drowned partner and Cath still in the water and calling out for the shredded Grayson's worst nightmare.
Steve's choking calls were raspy and desperate. Cath's voice was actually stronger sounding but no less desperate.
Scanning the surface, the detective could see nothing of the cat who, at the most, would be merely a speck in the dark water; the only illumination provided by the few low-wattage lamps on the pier itself. The night was too dark to see anything smaller than the Queen Mary in the inky water.
He thought he heard a noise somewhere beyond Steve and Cath where the glow of lights didn't reach. He listened closely but didn't hear it again.
Removing his jacket, wallet, keys, phone and shoes, he made a perfect shallow dive and quickly swam toward where he'd heard the noise.
"EVERYBODY! SHUT UP!" He yelled loudly as he stopped to tread water; looking around himself and trying to again locate the sound. A hush came over searchers and observers.
There it was again; a faint strangled squawk and a muted metallic sound that was probably a waterlogged jingle bell. It was just off to his left. Swimming a few feet further out, he reached toward where he'd last heard it and felt something that definitely didn't belong in the ocean – wet fur. His hand closed around the little body that now floated passively on the surface.
"I got him!" he yelled as a cheer went up from the now larger crowd as several more bored and/or tipsy ballgoers had made their way to the edge of the pier for entertainment.
Danny paddled back toward them, holding the limp little animal aloft. Reaching his goal, the blonde handed the obviously unconscious, (if not dead), cat to Chin who now clung to the rope ladder dangling from the top of the pier to the water's surface.
The Hawaiian took the inert little body and climbed the rest of the way to the pier's wooden planking with Danny right behind. Steve, with Cath's assistance, had also just made 'land'. He dragged himself slowly up the rope ladder and crawled/stumbled toward them.
"Danny! He's not breathing!" rasped the SEAL as he took the inert animal into hands shaking from cold, exhaustion and the remnants of adrenaline.
Lori and Angela skid to a halt on the slick surface of the nearly empty terrace. Having been warned to take cover, panicked ballgoers rushed toward the entrance into the hotel.
Moving quickly to the railing, Lori put the RPG to her shoulder as Angela loaded a grenade and sharply tapped her on the back to let her know she was good to go.
"Stand back!" yelled Lori as she sighted on the barge. She knew the weapon was good for almost a thousand yards but was decently accurate for less than half that.
Through the scope, she could make out someone moving about on the stationary vessel. Inhaling then slowly releasing her breath, she held it and squeezed the trigger. The recoil nearly knocked her on her ass.
The unworried henchman could hear the hum of the mechanism aligning the rocket's new trajectory. He waited to hear it lock into place. Just a little bit more and he'd hear the gratifying click.
His finger hovered impatiently over the button as he waited. Just a couple more seconds . . .
"Oh, shit!" muttered the blonde as he quickly took back the limp body from his nearly drowned partner who, himself, was barely able to breathe.
Without even stopping to think, the detective swept a finger through the little mouth to ensure a clear airway then put his own mouth over the cat's muzzle as he began giving quick puffs of breath, stopped every few to check if there was any sign of Cujo breathing on his own.
McGarrett swayed anxiously beside them until, legs no longer able to hold him, and somewhat steadied by Cath, he folded into a wet heap to land in a sitting position with a loud thump; never taking his eyes off Cujo and Danny.
Suddenly, during one of the pauses, a gurgle and a small jet of water spewed from the feline's mouth. Danny quickly dangled the little body head down as more fluid dribbled forth and the cat began to gag and struggle weakly, expelling water he'd obviously ingested.
Now breathing on his own, Cujo squawked in waterlogged confusion. Danny, holding him like a soggy time bomb brought him to Steve who sat looking up at them anxiously; someone's pink Pashmina shawl draped incongruously over his shoulders.
Handing the weakly struggling cat to his relieved and still nearly breathless partner, he shook his head in amusement/relief/whatever . . . it was all good at this point.
From the direction of the terrace, came the thud and whoosh of the RPG as a rocket grenade sped toward the barge in the harbor. Steve recognized the sound immediately. Angie and Lori make quite a team, thought the SEAL. Cagney and Lacy come to life with military grade weapons.
The path of the grenade glowed in the darkness as the missile streaked toward the static vessel. The women held their breaths for the brief moment it took to reach its target.
They were rewarded with only a dull explosion and a geyser of water as it hit slightly short of its target.
"Shit!" exclaimed the profiler.
"Again!" she ordered and hefted the device to her shoulder as Angie slid in another rocket grenade, once again tapping Lori smartly then leaping back without being told.
"Alright you little motherfucker, this one's especially for you!" growled Lori as she carefully sighted and, once again, exhaling slowly then holding it - pulled the trigger.
Angela's opinion of the slender woman ratcheted up another notch as the grenade streaked off into the night - the salty oath seeming to give it speed and , hopefully, accuracy.
The impact of that recoil is gonna leave a helluva bruise, thought the Jersey girl admiringly.
There was a loud splash and a muffled boom as salt water rained down on him.
"Damn! Somebody means business!" he exclaimed aloud.
Though the fireworks rockets weren't yet fully locked into place, he stabbed his finger at the launch button. Only the first cannon responded to his command.
With a thunderous boom, the rocket streaked off toward the shoreside ballroom.
Danny could hear people screaming as a bright flash came from the direction of the terrace.
"Gracie!" he yelled forgetting about his half-drowned partner and his cat as he started a mad dash toward the ballroom.
He'd gotten only a few steps when he spotted Kono and his daughter - Malia not far behind - rushing toward him.
Just beyond the running trio, a shower of multicolored sparks fanned outward; the bright display almost simultaneous with a loud boom that echoed across the water. A blinding flash lit up the night sky as the barge disintegrated.
It was like the devil had decided to crack open the earth like an egg and let its hellish core burst forth . . . not an altogether unknown phenomenon on the volcanic island, thought Danny as he reflexively hit the deck.
"INCOMING!" yelled Lori as she spotted the rocket streaking toward them right before she was nearly blinded by the gigantic, sun bright, flash of her vaporizing target when the rockets onboard exploded all at once.
Already falling backward from the recoil, she felt Angie pull her down the rest of the way as the detective threw herself atop her; a shield from the incoming missile.
This is going to be fucking spectacular! were Ricardo's last thoughts as his world ended in just that manner when rest of the fireworks ignited, courtesy of a well-aimed rocket grenade. A most spectacular fireball indeed rose into the, now, brightly lit sky.
Dropping to the ground, Kono pressed Gracie to the surface beneath her; the Hawaiian woman's slight body shielding the child from harm. After a moment of waiting for the fireball to dim and to make sure there weren't any more to follow, after a long minute, Kono stood and helped Gracie to her feet, brushing dirt from the front of the girl's pink taffeta dress and straightening her barrettes.
"You OK, honey?" asked Kono; getting only a silent nod as a reply - Gracie's eyes as big as saucers.
Malia had caught up with them and proceeded to check both Gracie and Kono for injury and found none.
"Now that all the scary stuff is over, let's go find Danno and Steve. I'm sure they'll want to know you're OK." Kono smiled reassuringly at the still speechless girl; taking her hand to go in search of the others.
Spotting Danny, she let loose her hold on Gracie and watched the girl dash into her father's arms; the scene surreal in the bright glow from offshore.
He could tell his trembling daughter was trying very hard not to cry, or perhaps it was he who was trembling and trying not to cry; it really didn't matter because Gracie was safe in his arms.
He held her tightly to him as he watched the barge go up in a final angry flare of multi colored explosions. Brain suddenly clicking back into gear, his next thought - Where's Angie!
He'd last seen her when the two women had flashed past him toward the ballroom terrace. His heart rate, once again quickened to jackhammer speed as his eyes took in the now darkened terrace before he saw two figures coming toward him through the drifting smoke.
The two women, arms around each other's shoulders and laughing their heads off, walked/staggered toward him.
"WHAT A RUSH!" exclaimed Angie, Her previous ladylike appearance a dim memory as her ripped, soggy gown hung in tatters and her hair now a wet, messy tangle of untamed curls. Lori, though drier, was nearly dragging the rocket launcher beside her; the profiler's gown obviously the worse-for-wear with what looked to be burn holes among the rips, tears and dirt.
"Wait! An RPG! What the . . . ", thought the detective, turning accusingly toward his partner who sat grinning broadly as he observed his reunited family. Steve was trying very hard to not feel guilty for being unable to help the women finish his job. He'd also missed the fun of blowing something up. Oh well, at least he knew Angie enjoyed it. He sure liked that girl.
Steve, counting heads to make sure everyone was safe, discovered that only Max was missing. Their diminutive colleague and Punani had been separated during all the excitement and only the frightened woman had found her way back to them.
Sending out a search party, they'd finally located the little M.E. talking to one of the large, bronze, dolphins decorating the hotel lobby. Even though the animated conversation was only one-sided, the little medical examiner/Klingon had been immensely entertained conversing with his metallic companion.
After the evening was over, Punani lead him back to their car, relieved that her man was safe. Even if he did talk to statuary when he was three-sheets-to-the-wind, she thought he was the cutest thing she'd ever seen. She drove.
"So, now you and the buzzsaw are tag teaming the bad guys, huh? If so, you two had better get your routine down. That one went a little rough, Babe."
Danny stood over his bedraggled partner still seated on the wooden planking. McGarrett only squinted tiredly up at him as he cradled the soggy little animal in his lap; Cath's arms around him as she sat next to the two nearly drowned warriors.
"Maybe I should just turn in my badge and let the two of you handle crime on this pile of smoking lava? I have to hand it to your barracuda, he did a pretty thorough job. Even if Grayson miraculously manages to get out of jail, he won't be in shape to import even a cockroach for quite awhile and I don't mean one of those big hissing ones from Madagascar."
"Hissing?" gasped his partner, telling himself oxygen was, as yet, too precious to waste on complete sentences. He'd been meticulously wiping his hands down the soaked fur of his mini-ninja-detective, trying to get as much water as possible out of Cujo's waterlogged coat without the aid of a towel.
"Yeah, I saw one on Animal Planet. It was freakin' disgusting." exclaimed Danny with a shudder.
Cujo quietly let his human do whatever he wanted - the little cat too tired to protest the feeble ministrations. Danny watched in amusement tempered with more than a bit of concern.
"Why don't you just wring him out like a dishrag?" he suggested. It only garnered a silent glare from his equally as waterlogged partner. "Well, maybe the two of you can share a hospital room."
That got a reaction from the still winded man. "No hospital." he wheezed as Cath silently rolled her eyes at her stubborn friend.
"Sorry Babe, since both of you almost drowned in your attempt to go all wrecking crew on Grayson's ass, I think a visit to the ER would be appropriate – if not mandatory. Don't give me any lip about it either. You're kind of bluish again – not your color Rambo."
"Not bluish." wheezed McGarrett
"Well, your wolverine is." said Danny. "I don't think he's as happy as you are to take unplanned midnight swims. He hasn't gone through SEAL training."
McGarrett glanced down at his pissed looking cat. Cujo actually had what Danny would call aneurism face. Steve had always marveled at the expressiveness of the little cat's face.
Danny just shook his head. Cujo's current expression was way too much like his partner's 'Don't mess with me or I'll rip your arm off and shove it down your throat' face. The blonde actually took a step back in case the furry piranha decided to act on what his expression might indicate. No sense taking chances, to his misfortune, he'd miscalculated that look in the past.
Maybe it's true that animals eventually start resembling their owners? thought Danny. After all, Steve's hair is getting grayer by the day and the cat will probably come up with a goofy feline-style grin any moment now.
There were sirens in the distance. Someone sober enough and with a dry phone had called for at least one bus even before the end of the chase. The HPD people attending the soiree knew that anything involving the lethal Five-0 commander would probably require medical aid for someone – if not the services of the coroner.
As if magically, a dry towel and a blanket appeared from the crowd. The now sodden Pashmina was handed back to its owner with a thank you as the blanket was settled around the SEAL's shoulders. McGarrett took the offered towel and wrapped it around his furry back-up. In spite of the warm temperature, both man and cat were shivering.
"Everyone OK?" rasped out Five-0's commander, reconfirming his previous visual check of his team.
"We're all OK, Boss." he heard Kono's voice from behind him. "But somebody owes Lori a couple of very expensive dresses."
"No problem Kalakaua. If the state won't cover it, I will." laughed/coughed her boss.
"Hey, what about my tux?" asked Chin. "You covering that too? The rental shop is gonna be really pissed." The Hawaiian had removed his jacket and was wringing it out; a cascade of salt water splatting onto the pier.
Steve, with Danny's permission, had sent Gracie off with Max and Punani to the hotel coffee shop to get her some ice cream and to get Max some coffee, though all that would likely be accomplished is a wide-awake drunk. Gracie, like her father, could eat no matter what was going on around her.
He could sense Danny, now that the excitement had died down a little, was going to bring up the RPG issue. Steve knew the rants were just his partner's way of coping, especially when the man had Gracie's and Angie's safety to consider on top of everything else.
As if on schedule, the stressed detective, with one hand on hip and the other waving about in sharp gestures to emphasize his point, (whatever the hell it is), thought Steve bracing himself for the loud soliloquy. His head was pounding and he was nearly as cold as he'd been in Jersey. He knew the headache had been caused by oxygen deprivation and he was hoping he wasn't getting a relapse of the bug that had nearly killed him.
"An RPG! . . . Really?" How long have you had that rolling around in your truck, Steven?"
"Uhh . . . about four months?" was the hesitant reply. He almost elaborated by saying it wasn't 'rolling around' anywhere. It was very neatly and safely stowed away but, from past experience, he knew better than to interrupt Hurricane Danny in a full-on rant.
"Was this weapon ever stored in my car?" demanded the blonde.
"Uhh, no, not really."
"What do you mean 'not really'?. Either it was or it wasn't. If it was, we have an issue here. If it wasn't" he huffed resignedly, "We're good. Besides, it did sorta come in handy."
"Of course that's the only thing you'd hear out of this whole conversation you moron but . . . yeah. The caveat being only if that weapon spent not so much as an hour in the vehicle in which my child rides to and from school! The vehicle that takes her to soccer practice and fucking ballet practice! Not even one hour, you over-amped, adrenaline junkie, Rambo wannabe who keeps mountain lions as pets!"
Steve watched fascinated as his partner's hands whipped the air like berserk rotor blades.
"If you can tell me that weapon spent no longer than sixty minutes, that's one fucking hour, in my vehicle . . . then . . . we may be good."
Breathing heavily now from the exertion of his word explosion, he could see Steve's glazed looking eyes narrow as he calculated something in his mind. Nodding to himself as he obviously came to his answer, he smiled and said, "Then we're good" and looked up at his agitated partner with the grin that always made Danny, inwardly if not always outwardly, laugh.
The detective ran his hand through his hair and rolled his eyes heavenward in exasperation before turning toward the vehicle making its way down the pier. For now, rocket propelled grenade launchers didn't exist. Dwelling on the issue would only get his blood pressure up, and after tonight's excitement, it was probably high enough already.
Malia knelt down next to McGarrett, immediately noting his rasping sounding breaths. "You're definitely going to the hospital Steve. Even without a stethoscope, I can hear the water in your lungs. You're going to need attention for that."
"But . . . " began the SEAL's expected protest.
"Uh uh, Rambo." warned Danny, "The doctor has spoken. Don't even waste whatever breath you have. You're not getting out of a ride in the big white bus."
Said bus/ambulance pulled up near them, the crowd obediently parting to let it through, its lights reflecting off the puddles on the planks of the pier and the sparkling jewelry of the bystanders.
The lead EMT, Makena O'Brien, was one who'd responded to Five-0's calls in the past. He was familiar with the entire team and knew of McGarrett's reluctance to go anywhere near an ER. Reasoning with the stubborn commander about the need to get further medical assistance was usually futile. Unless the man was actually unconscious, it was always a fight. He hoped his haoli partner would prevail. He readied a mild sedative in case it was needed.
"Hey, Steve." he greeted. "What did you get into this time, brah?" O'Brien pulled out his stethoscope as his partner, Ralphie, got out the BP cuff.
Before McGarrett could even open his mouth, Dr. Malia Kelly answered for him. "Near drowning, congested lungs, maybe hypothermia, some bruising and probably exhaustion." she summed up, noting Steve's unhappy expression in spite of the obvious trembling and the intermittent shivers that had Cath rubbing his arms to try to get some warmth into him.
"Could you check the cat over?" he asked, not bothering to dispute the attractive doctor.
"Not my specialty but yeah sure – if he won't bite me. I'll take a listen to his lungs too. Looks like both of you wound up going swimming?"
Malia took the bundled cat from Steve's still trembling arms, saying with a frown, "Steve first, then Cujo."
O'Brien pulled open the ruined shirt and put the stethoscope on his patient's chest and then leaned him forward and lifted the wet fabric to place the listening device against his back.
"Pretty soggy sounding, brah. The doc's right. You're going for a ride." Turning to the other medic, O'Brien said "Get a line started on him, only ringers for now."
"The cat?" said Steve, prompting the medic.
"Right" said O'Brien, gingerly placing his scope on the little body held toward him by Dr. Kelly. Cujo growled menacingly as the instrument pressed into wet fur.
O'Brien listened for a moment and frowning said, "From what I can tell, he sounds about like you do. Better get him to a vet. He's gonna need treatment too."
Cujo took that moment to make a half-hearted lunge toward the cautious medic who'd already heard of Five-0's mascot and had been ready to pull back out of danger.
"Hey!" he yelped as he heard the sharp little teeth click on the stainless steel stethoscope before he could snatch it completely out of harm's way. If it hadn't been made of metal, there'd surely have been fang marks left on it's surface.
"Good thing the wolverine's not hitting on all cylinders, Mac." laughed Danny who was still standing over them, dripping water onto the pier. "You'd a lost an arm if he was at his usual level."
"Well, I had a wino bite me once." said the medic glaring at the now growling animal who'd quickly been handed back to the SEAL. "That was enough for me. I heard about this one. He hasn't learned yet that I have sedatives for patients who give me any shit!" O'Brien made a point of directing his glare toward the SEAL as well who only looked innocently back at him but quickly apologized for his fierce little detective, (the one who wasn't Danny.)
"Sorry, Mac. We'll both be good." he smiled, the threat of being sedated enough to discourage any further protests about a trip to the ER. He hated the disorienting feeling of waking up from sedatives. Besides, considering he had his entire team and what seemed half of Hawaii's medical community on his case, a trip to the ER was unavoidable. He knew where to pick his battles.
Danny spoke up, ordering – "Cath can go with Steve to make sure he doesn't make a break for it. Lori, you and . . . "he looked around at his team, everyone but Malia was soaked.
"I'll go with." volunteered Angie. "We came together with Steve. I already have his keys. We can take his truck."
"You sure Ange? You're soaked. If I can find Max, I was gonna ask him to go with her to the vet's. I'm gonna hitch a ride with Chin, his seats are vinyl. No way I'm getting the Camaro's upholstery wet . . . again!
His thoughts turned to the last time Steve had gone for an unscheduled swim - plunging into the water after a suspected drug smuggler. Without any way to dry off first, he rode back to HQ in his partner's precious vehicle. It took forever for the seats to dry and they had smelled like wet dog until they did.
"No problem" answered his sister with a wicked smile. "I'd be more than happy to accompany Detective Cujo Daniel McGarrett to the kitty ER."
"Great, take him to . . . wait! What!" he stopped in mid-order, face in shock as he whirled on his partner now lying on the transport gurney; an oxygen mask clamped over his face.
"You named that evil little sonovabitch after me?" yelled the blonde his dripping clothing and seriously unstyled coif a comical testament to his own late night dip in the ocean.
"Well, sure, Danno." came the muffled voice from under the plastic mask. "You'd name your next kid after me if it was a boy – wouldn't you?" laughed his partner, the sound once again turning into a soggy cough.
"I don't think naming my son 'Neanderthal Moron Williams' would be a good idea!" snapped Danny.
The more than irritated detective knew there was a goofy grin behind the mask clamped to the face of the man being loaded into the ambulance by two loudly laughing EMT's.
Ricardo, or at least parts of him, were recovered along with the body of the unfortunate fire marshal.
The state's safety officer, Mickey Ikaika, had no children depending on him for support and no family other than a very bitter ex-wife to note his passing. Though it made his death no less tragic, the man would be remembered as one of the State of Hawaii's fallen who'd given their lives in protection of the place some called Paradise.
The pyrotechnician had swum ashore and actually hitched a ride from nearly the other side of the harbor to the hotel. Bewildered hotel security thought he was perhaps a drunken partygoer who'd wound up in the drink by accident. He explained what had happened and was handed over to HPD to give his statement.
The governor, though highly pissed that his party had ended so abruptly and in tatters, was having David his aide draft an official thank you to Five-0 to be read at the press conference in the morning. Steve was absolved of official appearances for the moment. It wouldn't look very good if the head of the Governor's Special Task Force were to pass-out in front of every reporter on the island.
The stories of Five-0's foiling of the plot to annihilate anyone of any official importance in the great state of Hawaii would include a cat, a visiting New Jersey detective and the governor's liaison/watchdog . . . talk about 'thinking outside the box'. This story wouldn't even require any extra spin.
It took only two days each for furball and human to leave their respective hospitals and return home. No one was looking forward to administering medication to either one. They'd both bite.
Steve had sustained no lasting harm from his latest adventure. Quick treatment had averted any further lung issues. After conversing with Doctor Ingstrom in New Jersey, the Hawaiian version of the astute pulmonologist only wanted to keep the cranky SEAL under observation for a couple of days to ensure the fact. Any longer would have been way too trying for both patient and caregivers.
Steve asserted he couldn't possibly catch any additional bugs because they would have run out from one of the many holes they'd poked in his arms and elsewhere. He was nearly as fractious and uncooperative as the cat who was also giving his doctor a run for her money.
Rest assured, both MD and DVM were glad to see their patients well enough to be released.
Danny drove as Steve settled restlessly into the passenger seat; so glad to be going home, he didn't even put up a fight about driving.
"So, how's Kono?" asked Steve, "She didn't come to see me when they were holding me prisoner in the hospital. That's not like her. She having a hard time with the Grayson thing?"
"Yeah, you could say that but some of it might be that she doesn't want to face her boss." answered Danny as he swerved carefully around a large pothole. Steve knew it wasn't for his benefit. Danny just didn't want to tax the Camaro's suspension system.
"Why wouldn't she want to face me?" asked a bewildered McGarrett, sounding maybe a little hurt.
"You know, allowing a criminal mastermind/killer into the ohana." said Danny, automatically using the Hawaiian word he'd very gratefully come to know the meaning of.
"That's not her fault.! OK, well maybe just a little for not being more selective but . . . "
"Not even a little, Steven! How was she to know he was only playing her? The guy was as slick as owl shit. Any woman would've fallen for his line." defended Danny.
"I wouldn't hold it against her! How could she not know that? We all make mistakes."
"Yeah, like you and that walking demolition derby of a cat." smirked Danny
"Hey, Detective Cujo Daniel McGarrett saved my bacon buddy."
"Only, after causing all the commotion in the first place by trying to off Grayson – not that he didn't deserve it, mind you - but I will never forgive you for naming that mangy little asshole after me!"
"You know you love him. Just like you love me." said the tall man an arrogant smirk on his still slightly too pale face.
"Yeah, what I'd love is to take the both of you to a shrink and figure out what it is that drives you and that fur covered time-bomb to commit mayhem on a regular basis. It's a good thing you haven't taught him how to use grenades." huffed the detective, keeping one hand on the wheel while waving the other about for emphasis.
"Not yet, D. He's still a little too young for that. We have to start slow with those things." smiled Steve.
Williams only regarded his partner with an exasperated expression as he pulled into the McGarrett driveway a minute later.
The tall man recognized the usual vehicles parked there along with a Ford compact that was probably a rental.
He knew Cath wouldn't be able to get here until later tonight. The deal she'd made to be able to stay at Pearl for a couple weeks included putting in a few shifts as a favor to one of her ex-CO's as a communications liaison. Steve and his comely lieutenant still had some 'communicating' to do of their own.
When he entered, standing in the living room was his entire team including Angie. Immediately, the Jersey girl handed him a purring grey animal. Once again reunited with his human, Cujo nuzzled Steve's neck and then the sandpaper tongue went into overdrive as he licked his way from collarbone to jaw, his human scrunching up his face at the feel of it. The motorboat purring was an incredibly loud sound for such a small creature. Steve thought it the most wonderful sound in the world.
"Welcome home boss!" said Chin who patted him on the shoulder as Angela gave him one of those huge engulfing William's embraces. Once again, the little cat squawked in indignation as he was sandwiched between two humans.
Why do they keep doing that? They know I'm here! darkly thought the annoyed little animal.
When they broke apart it was Lori's turn. Kono had hesitantly hung back.
Steve saw her on the periphery of the group. Handing off Cujo to Chin, he took a step toward her and held out his arms. This hugging thing is actually OK, thought Steve realizing he'd comfortably and almost automatically extended the invitation.
Hesitating for a brief second, she took a step forward and folded her slender body into his hug.
"I'm so sorry Boss." she said, her voice barely audible as her eyes looked up onto his, their dark surface shiny with unshed tears.
"There's nothing to be sorry for, Kono. The guy was a consummate con artist . . . among other things. You don't have anything to be sorry for." he said gently.
Just then, the doorbell rang and Chin went to answer it. There on the porch were Kurt and Pat Charteris; the snake man carrying a case of beer, (Longboards). Coming up the walk behind them were Max and Kamekona.
Amid the new round of welcome back hugs, Gracie clumped down the stairs looking as though she'd just awakened from a nap.
"Uncle Steve! Cujo!" she yelped and flew the last few steps to hug Steve around the waist.
"Hey! This is turning into a party." laughed Steve.
"Yeah, a coming home party for you and Cujo!" piped Gracie, all traces of sleep gone from her face as she happily nuzzled the purring little cat who'd been handed to her by her Uncle Chin.
"Come on, Rambo, the gang's put together some food and drinks for the occasion. Let's get out to the lanai before the food gets cold and the beer gets hot." said Danny, shepherding the group toward the back of the house.
Steve set the too familiar 'patient's belongings' bag down on the floor, (it contained what was left of a soggy tux and even soggier dress shoes). With one long arm around Kono and the other around Danny the trio went to sit in the sun.
Some of the group stayed back in the kitchen to get platters of food ready to bring out to the ancient picnic table. Gracie handed Cujo back reluctantly as Danny admonished her to go wash her hands after touching the cat so she could eat. He'd have reminded everyone else but it probably wouldn't have been so willingly or good naturedly obeyed. They're probably going to catch some horrible cat disease, thought 'mother hen' Danny.
Someone handed Steve a beer and after a quick look to see if he was going to have to argue with Danny about it, took a long cool swig. Things were back as they should be. His friends and ohana were around him. The sun was shining. The ocean was as blue as the pictures on the postcards and his cat was now snuggled peacefully in his lap.
"So, Ange, if I'm not mistaken; you have a date tonight?" he asked casually, basking in the warmth of the sun and leaning back into his chair.
"You remembered!" smiled Angela who looked quite fetching in a bikini top and shorts, her skin beginning to lose its ghostly Jersey pallor and acquire a golden hue.
"She cute?" he asked curiously.
"As a button. Big hazel eyes and sort of streaky blondish hair. Not real tall but she has a seriously sexy voice."
"She sounds hot. So, what is this mystery woman's name?"
"I don't know her last name yet but her name tag said 'Mary'"
The beer he'd just begun to swallow spewed forth, showering a very annoyed little cat who growled at the indignation of the foamy unexpected bath.
Hey! These bubbles don't even smell like flowers! Cujo's ears flattened and his pupils dilated.
*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0* Hawaii 5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*5-0*
Hope you guys enjoyed the ride. Let me know your final thoughts on this story if you'd be so kind. If you have any suggestions for the next Cujo story, I'd be happy to hear them. Thanks so much for your support.